[Before Minchah the children sang “Napoleon’s March, and after Minchah they sang different songs and then recited the twelve Pesukim.]
1. Jewish children are (called “Tzivos Hashem,” soldiers in Hashem’s army. It is therefore appropriate to speak to you in the same way as one speaks to an army. All Jews belong in this category because every Jew, even one who is elderly is called Hashem’s “child;” nevertheless the term “Tzivos Hashem” applies most emphatically to children.
As has been previously mentioned, the importance of Jewish children as Tzivos Hashem is clearly demonstrated in the story of the journey of Yaakov and his children to Egypt. The Torah tells us that “seventy souls” entered Egypt, each part of Tzivos Hashem. Even Yocheved, who was born just before (or at the exact time) they entered Egypt, was counted among the seventy of equal importance as Yaakov. A little Jewish girl is considered one of Tzivos Hashem equally with our father Yaakov.
In Egypt, the first Golus of the Jewish people, the children’s importance as members of Hashem’s army, was strongly emphasized. So, too, when we will go out of this Golus with Mashiach, about which time it is written (Michah 7:15): “As in the days of your coming out of the land of Egypt I will show you wonders.” It is this role of the Jewish children that leads us to make a “parade” of “Tzivos Hashem,” with little Jewish boys and little Jewish girls on the front line. Each and every one of these children helps comprise Hashem’s army, and ensures that the army runs properly. Evidently, when addressing you as “Tzivos Hashem,” members of an army, in a place where Jews daven to Hashem and learn His Torah, the talk has to be in accordance with the customs of an army.
Every army has certain days when the discipline is not as strict as usual. Although soldiers in an army are always soldiers, the commander-in-chief decides on those days to relax rules which are usually much more stringent.
The same applies to Hashem’s army. Hashem (the “Commander-in-chief”) has told us that there are certain times, and certain days: Shabbos, Yom Tov and Chol-HaMoed; when the schedule of going to Cheder or school is not so rigid. The soldier (the Jewish child) has free time to rest, play, and meet friends. After these special times, the “soldier” goes back to his work in Hashem’s army — learning Torah — with even more vigor than before.
There are quite a few days in the month of Tishrei when a child cannot learn as much as usual. Rosh Hashanah, the Fast of Gedaliah, Erev Yom Kippur, Yom Kippur, the days of Sukkos, Shemini Atzeres, Simchas Torah and “Isru Chag” are all days when the Tzivos Hashem are busy with other things. They must help prepare for Shabbos and Yom Tov, obtain the four species (Esrog, Lulav, Aravos and Hadassim) and build a Sukkah. Of course even at this time they are still soldiers in Hashem’s army, learning Hashem’s Torah and keeping His Mitzvos; but the schedule of learning is not as strict as during the rest of the year.
In the army, when the time comes to go back to the regular strict schedule, many soldiers are gathered together in a parade, and they sing a victory march. The purpose of this parade is to revive within everyone the strong spirit of victory which is necessary in order to continue the soldiers’ work, to insure that they will indeed win the war.
In Hashem’s army too, the end of the month of Tishrei when we return to the regular order of Tzivos Hashem, is a time to make such a parade. We must return to the strict work of a soldier, to learn Torah ourselves, and see to it that our friends also volunteer to join the Tzivos Hashem. We must go to Hashem’s war, the war against the Yetzer Horah. We gather all the soldiers together in a parade and sing a victory march, as you have just done (“Napoleon’s March” was sung by the children before the Sicha), and thus we are assured of victory. As we have been promised “if you work hard you will be successful” (one of the twelve Pesukim). Certainly the soldiers will fight Hashem’s war properly, therefore ensuring that they will defeat the Yetzer Horah.
This parade is a training session — a festival held while still in the month of Tishrei. It is a preparation to the year of study which begins soon — in the month of Cheshvan. We are preparing for victory in the war against the Yetzer Horah through the study of Torah, to reveal in the world that “the whole world is full of His glory,” through the observance of the Mitzvos.
Now is therefore the time to make a resolution to learn Torah during this year with enthusiasm and to keep the Mitzvos properly. This will give great pleasure to the Commander-in-chief (Hashem), who will certainly give rewards and medals to each one of you for your heroism in the war with the Yetzer Horah.
Now that it is just after Simchas Torah, you should fulfill the task with happiness and joy, just as you danced on Simchas Torah and the following Shabbos. By fulfilling this task completely, we will very soon merit the true and complete redemption by Mashiach Tzidkeinu.
2. Just as in every army there are different divisions, each having its own job and responsibility, so must it be in Hashem’s army — Tzivos Hashem. We see the importance of each of the separate divisions in Tzivos Hashem through the realization that one of the battles of the war is to reveal within the world that “the whole earth is full of His glory.” The means of accomplishing this is through “Uforatzto” — spreading out and working with all four corners of the earth — north, south, east and west, necessitating four divisions in Tzivos Hashem.
These four divisions are connected with our forefathers, Avraham, Yitzchok, Yaakov and Dovid HaMelech; who are in turn connected with the four directions of the world: Avraham with the south, Yitzchok with the north, Yaakov, east and Dovid, west. It is therefore understood that the Tzivos Hashem can be divided accordingly. One division fights the Yetzer Horah as we were shown by Avraham with “Gemilus Chasodim” — acts of
As far as the physical needs of every soldier are concerned, we see that in every army those needs are supplied by the army, as indicated by the commander-in-chief. The soldiers’ food and drink, clothes and sleeping quarters are all taken care of. In Tzivos Hashem as well, by fighting the war against the Yetzer Horah, Hashem will bless you and your parents that you should have everything you need. You will be healthy, happy and strong and you will have food and drink and a brightly lit home, in order that you should be able to win the war even better and faster.
One of the means with which victory is ensured in a war, including the war against the Yetzer Horah, is by combining it with three things: Torah — learning Torah; Tefillah — praying to Hashem and asking Him for success in all your endeavors; and also keeping the Mitzvos in general, beginning with the Mitzvah of Tzedakah — charity, which is equivalent to all the Mitzvos. It is therefore appropriate that once a month each of you put money into a pushka (charity box) or give money to a free loan fund in your division. The amount given should be the sum of ten, as the Torah tells us about the Mitzvah of giving “Machtzis HaShekel” (half a shekel) that it was “ten gera.” In the U.S. this means a dime, in Israel ten Agurot, and so in each country, according to its currency, the sum of ten.
This giving of “ten” to charity will remind you of two things: a) when a Jew does a good thing, he unites himself with all of the different kinds of Jews all over the world, who are divided in the Torah into ten kindness, whereas the other divisions follow the paths of our other fathers.
The same divisions apply to the girls as well. We have four mothers — Sarah, Rivkah, Rochel and Leah, who are also connected with the four divisions, north, south, east and west.
The aforementioned implies, that when you meet periodically to devise a plan of action to combat the Yetzer Horah, you should sometimes arrange the “major attack” — the main offensive, around the good deeds which the Torah tells about Avraham, or about Sarah; sometimes it should be in the good deeds of Yitzchok and Rivkah; and the same applies to Yaakov and Leah, and Dovid and Rochel.
Yet it is self-evident that even when the main emphasis is on the type of good deeds of Avraham and Sarah (for example), we must still guard ourselves from the Yetzer Horah in the actions pertaining to the other divisions — the other forefathers, Dovid HaMelech, and the other mothers. Just as in every army, when a major offensive is launched on one front, the other sides are not left open and vulnerable, G-d forbid. Rather, every side is continuously guarded, even though the main attack is on one specific front.
The strategy of dividing the various aspects of the war should be discussed with the “generals” of the Tzivos Hashem — your counselors. They should decide whether the divisions should plan according to the four weeks of each month, or by different months etc. classifications, from the “heads of your tribes” to “your water carriers.”
b) Because this Tzedakah is like the “half shekel,” it reminds a Jew that he is only a “half.” Only by uniting with another Jew can he become a complete being, a whole “shekel.”
This realization also leads him to be a proper soldier. We see that in every army, in order to win the war, each soldier must have at least one other to help him and watch over him. So when one soldier in Hashem’s army helps another in attacking the Yetzer Horah with Torah and Mitzvos — the real arms with which the Yetzer Horah is beaten — this unity ensures a complete victory.
3. The examples that were given before about the themes of the various divisions of Tzivos Hashem, were the good deeds of Avraham, Yitzchok, Yaakov, and Dovid, and Sarah, Rivkah, Rochel, and Leah. This does not mean, G-d forbid, that boys do not have to do the good deeds of the Mothers, and girls, those of the Fathers. Both boys and girls must do all the good deeds of our Fathers and our Mothers. As the Torah tells us: “Honor your father and mother,” and “your mother and your father you shall fear,” meaning that everyone must honor and obey both father and mother.
We mentioned before that sometimes the attack must be directed towards a certain point (of one of the Fathers or the Mothers), and the defense should be on all of the other sides. For example, when a poor man comes, the Yetzer Horah tries to stop the child from giving charity, G-d forbid. At this time the attack must be according to the lesson we learn from Avraham — kindness; and the defense is in the areas of the lessons from the other Fathers and Mothers. Another example: when it is time to go to learn in Cheder or Yeshiva, the Yetzer Horah urges you to put off the learning for later. You must respond with the strategy of Yaakov, who “sat in the tents (of learning).” Even when Esav went hunting in the fields, Yaakov sat in Yeshiva and learned Torah.
The same applies to all the various divisions of our Fathers and our Mothers. Sometimes the attack is on one front and the defense is on all others, and sometimes the war calls for a different plan, where the offensive is on another front. Surely each one of you can find the example which fits his own personal needs.
4. As has been explained on many occasions, each day of the week corresponds to that day in creation. Every day we can learn a lesson from Hashem’s creation on that day. Today, is the fourth day of the week, when the sun and the moon were created. The Torah tells us that there is a lesson in this for everyone which should be learned especially by Tzivos Hashem, because it is very important for them, as soldiers in the army, to know what the Commander-in-chief has ordered, and the example He has set. What can we learn from the creation of the sun and the moon?
The Talmud (Chulin 60b) says, that Yisrael, (the Jewish people), are compared to the moon. Just as the moon is called in the Torah “the small light,” so the Jews are referred to as “small.” Jews are considered “little children” by Hashem, with whom He plays; and like children, the Jewish people give Hashem much joy. In other words, the function of the Jewish people is like the function of the moon. The moon’s job is to light up the darkness of the night. A Jew must light up the darkness of Golus, making sure that in any corner of the world which is still “dark”, not yet illuminated by “Torah Or,” the light of Torah, he must bring to it the light of Torah and Yiddishkeit.
One may make another comparison between the moon and the Jewish people. The moon illuminates the world with the light it receives from the sun. The sun’s light is reflected off the moon, and thereby reaches the earth. So too, every Jew, beginning with the youngest age, illuminates his house and surroundings with light received from Hashem. Who is like the “Sun”, as it is written (Tehillim 84:12) “for the L-rd G-d is a Sun and Shield.” Hashem gave His light to the Jewish people in the Torah, and with this light they brighten the world.
Thus: when each of you will learn Torah, you will know how to be a “small light” to illuminate the darkness of the world. Through the enthusiastic and ‘bright’ learning of Torah and keeping the Mitzvos according to the light of the Torah: eating only Kosher food in a Kosher way — with a berachah; saying “Modeh Ani” when you wake up and saying “Shema Yisrael” before you go to sleep; and in general acting like a soldier the whole day, you will light up the world, following the example Hashem showed us on the fourth day, when He created the moon. The moon teaches us, that even something “small” even a young Jewish child, can light up the darkness of the world through reflecting the light of the “Sun” Hashem’s light.
May Hashem bless every one of you, along with every Jew, that you will very soon finish the task of lighting up the world, with each Jew illuminating his part of the world. Then everyone will see that the whole world is illuminated by Hashem, and Mashiach will come and take us all to Eretz Yisrael, out of the darkness of Golus. We will go all together, a complete people with our children in the front; with the complete Torah — because we will have kept all the Mitzvos in the Torah ; We will come to a complete Eretz Yisrael, the Holy Land; we will have the true and complete redemption speedily in these days.
5. As has been said on several prior occasions, we want to finish with giving Tzedakah, in addition to the Torah and Tefillah (davening Minchah) and saying of the twelve Pesukim. Everyone will therefore receive two coins, each one being in the sum of ten (the significance of which was explained earlier). One of them should be given to Tzedakah and one can be used as you wish.
Before that you should once again say the Pesukim “Shema Yisrael” and “Bereishis,” so that everyone will know that the world was created by Hashem and is being controlled by Him alone everywhere. Also before you leave you should sing “Uforatzto — and you shall spread out to the west, east, north and south.”
And everyone should go to his division in Tzivos Hashem and win Hashem’s war with true happiness. And very soon we shall go to greet Mashiach Tzidkeinu, and go with him and with Hashem, speedily in our days, to the “Land where the eyes of the L-rd your G-d are always upon it, from the beginning of the year to the end of the year,” — to Eretz Yisrael, with joyous and happy hearts.